Over 2000 academics across various disciplines from 81 countries demanded a Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty to manage a global phase out of coal oil and gas.
Phasing down coal, oil and gas in line with 1.5° C requires global cooperation, in a way that is fair, equitable and reflects countries levels of dependence on fossil fuel and capacities to transition. This, in turn, should be underpinned by financial resources including technology transfer to enable a just transition for workers and communities in developing countries and a decent life for all,” they said in an open letter to various governments across the world.
The signatories said that burning of coal, oil and gas is the greatest contributor to climate change. These are responsible for almost 80 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions since the industrial revolution. Air pollution caused by fossil fuels was responsible for almost one in five deaths worldwide in 2018.
In the open letter, they mentioned that the governments, including the COP 26 hosts, planned to expand fossil fuel production at levels that would result in around 120 percent more emissions than what is in keeping with the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C of warming.
NO TIME TO LOSE
Signatory Sandrine Dixson-Decleve, President of the Club of Rome, said: “The only way we will meet our Paris Agreement goals and transition to a net zero economy is by pulling out of fossil fuels now. We no longer have time to lose.”
Lesley Hughes, Professor of Biology, Macquarie University and Councillor for the Climate Council said: “Every fraction of a degree of warming is doing us harm. This means that every day we delay cessation of fossil fuel burning, we come closer to catastrophe.”
The letter comes on the heels of last month’s IPCC report, which was heralded as a death knell” for the fossil fuel industry by the UN Secretary General António Guterres and revealed that 86% of CO2 emissions in the last decade are from the burning of fossil fuels.
Signatory Michael E Mann, Professor of Atmospheric Science at Penn State University, added “it’s time to bring an end to the age of fossil fuels.”
Peter Kalmus, NASA Climate Scientist, noted that ” this is a global emergency so it requires global coordination to quickly eliminate the immediate cause: deadly fossil fuels”. The proposed Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty is critically needed to facilitate the international cooperation required to manage a fair and fast global transition away from coal, oil and gas (energies)
The Academics called for initiating a new chapter of international cooperation on climate change through a mechanism to compliment the Paris Agreement that would;
- End new expansion of fossil fuel production in line with the best available science as outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the United Nations Environment Programme
- Phase out existing production of fossil fuels in a manner that is fair and equitable, taking into account the respective dependency of countries on fossil fuels, and their capacity to transition
- Invest in a transformational plan to ensure 100% access to renewable energy globally, support fossil fueldependent economies to diversify away from fossil fuels, and enable people and communities across the globe to flourish through a global just transition.
Rebecca Byrnes, Deputy Director of the Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty Initiative said: “The world’s leading scientists could not be clearer – coal, oil and gas are the primary cause of the climate crisis and are responsible for nearly one in every five deaths worldwide. Any ‘net zero’ policy that allows for the continued expansion of these weapons of mass destruction is insufficient. Just as governments came together to phase out ozone-depleting chemicals, or end the proliferation of nuclear weapons, they must now urgently negotiate a Fossil Fuel NonProliferation Treaty.”
The full letter and list of signatories is available here.